Co-written by Jeffrey Aguiman
New York, November 12, 2012 — The creative team of Cameron Mackintosh’s 2013 London revival of mega-musical “Miss Saigon,” made up of executive producer Trevor Jackson, director Laurence Connor, musical supervisor Stephen Brooker, choreographer Geoffrey Garrett, and Mackintosh’s Philippine representative Dong Alegre, is set to hold auditions in Manila, specifically to find three new “Kims” (the show’s heroine), next week, Monday, November 19 to Thursday, November 22 at Philippine Opera Company’s “Opera Haus” facility in Makati City.
Many media outlets in the Philippines have already published series of auditions tips, which primarily came from Tony winner Lea Salonga and London-based actress Monique Wilson, Filipino actresses that both starred in the original production of “Miss Saigon” in London 22 years ago.
BroadwayWorld took a different turn, and asked some advices from our other favorite Filipino actresses that also played Kim: Joanna Ampil (Sydney and London), Ima Castro (Manila and London), Ivy Rose Padilla (Wellington, New Zealand), and Jennifer Paz (U.S. National Tour).
Joanna Ampil: Start practicing “Miss Saigon” songs now. Get dancing and do your best on the audition day. My only preparation for my audition was knowing my song pretty well and a prayer.
Ima Castro: I remember one of Claude Michel Schönberg’s [the show’s composer] visits in the UK to see the production I was in: Schönberg was very firm in saying that as long as he is alive, no one is allowed to change the notes he had written in his shows. He specifically chose a note to go with a particular word for a reason. So I guess that's my advice to those who would like to audition. Do not try ad-libbing.
Ivy Rose Padilla: Sometimes, the only thing standing between you and your dreams is yourself. When you doubt yourself — dwell on how other people are going to fare, or what they think of you — you can compromise your potential. Of course, you have to do your homework night and day! … It’s important to be extra prepared for anything. Have you done your research about the other songs in the show? Would you be ready to sing a different song if asked instead of your audition piece?
On that day you sing in front of the panel, you should take a moment to clear your mind, and let your emotion take your audience to a blissful journey through your singing. When you start singing, don’t think, “How am I going to approach the next verse?” With all your preparation, you have to trust that your body will do what you have trained it to do. Overthinking causes unnecessary mental and physical tension that can be heard in your singing.
You have to enjoy what you’re doing, and you should always be yourself – that’s what makes you different from anyone else. Whatever happens, enjoy the moment! How many people can say that they took part in this important moment of musical theater history?
God gives to those who ask, but you also have to do all the hard work. Pray for guidance and peace so you can keep calm during the audition process.
Jennifer Paz: The biggest impression you can make is to be a complete package. The competition, I imagine, will be intense. This new generation of Asian performers are far more armed and informed in the entire audition process. There's been such an explosion of sophisticated singers given the exposure of high-profile singing competitions; and as a result, performers have to be so well-rounded vocally in musical theater nowadays. But the auditioners also want to see strong, strong acting. And quite frankly, there’s now an entirely new generation of qualified Asian performers who have trained in the arts — many perhaps because of being exposed and inspired by seeing a production of “Miss Saigon.”